BOSTON - To the surprise of no one who's been paying attention, he's running again. And former President Donald Trump's announcement speech at Mar-A-Lago illustrated some of the strengths and weaknesses he'll bring to the race.
On the downside, Trump was showing his age. His delivery was unusually subdued - whose bright idea was it to have a 76-year-old-man start a one-hour address after 9pm on a weeknight? He mostly stuck to a script. And there were only fleeting moments of the old Trump combativeness; we counted just one measly reference to the "fake news media."
The fact-checkers will have a field day with many of the details of this speech, as Trump continues his habit of making it up as he goes along. Nothing new there. And there were some downright cringe-worthy moments, such as a riff about the allegedly corrupt "corridors of power" in DC in which he said "those are our corridors and we are coming to take our corridors back," evoking memories of the mob he unleashed on the Capitol on 1/6/21.
But with polls showing that - despite some slippage - he remains the most popular Republican in the country, Trump's announcement underscored a major advantage he has for now over any of his potential competitors -- he's been president already.
He can and did point to periods of peace and prosperity during his term, he cited personal experience dealing with world leaders. And Trump was more specific tonight about what he'd do to deal with an array of problems we face than any other potential candidate has been.
Warts and all, within the Republican universe at least, Trump is somebody. And you can't beat somebody with nobody.
Ron DeSantis? Mike Pence? Etc, etc? Your move.
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